Mike still has a fever that creeps over 100 fahrenheit at times, so I’ve been sticking close to home on my days off.

The news here is about the reactions over an announcement that LOTR: The Musical is closing early, and that the producer is blaming Toronto critics for this early closure . . . the mayor is fine blaming Americans who are avoiding travel post-9/11.

Here is a great piece in response to this kind of blame game (source: Reading Toronto, author R Ouellette):

Toronto’s media is buzzing this morning. Why? Was there a murder? No. G.W. Bush is in town? No. What then? The city’s Lord of the Rings stage production is closing!!! The end of Toronto’s tourism dreams. The horror. Who is to blame? Critics of course. They are the scourge of the earth – the real earth that is, not middle-earth.

The Globe and Mail has a front page story on the closing. “We were given a rough ride here in North America,” says producer Kevin Wallace. Toronto critics were singled out as the worst of a bad lot.

Let’s get this straight. In the new world order all negative news and commentary is banished from the public discourse because it interferes with the city’s agenda to build tourism or a production company’s agenda to sell tickets. OK, we’re in. No negative comments. No questioning agendas. Sure. Just tell us what to say and think. To hell with reality!

This reminds me of a rumour I once heard. Unnamed city(s) would alter weather reports on, say, Canada Day, to predict clear skies when the meteorologist were looking at radar images of category four hurricane just over the horizon. People would arrive for a special holiday only to find streets flooded with rain. Their plans were made miserable by misdirection. Does that approach benefit anyone? I doubt it.

Blaming the messenger is hardly a best practices way to make great productions or to build tourism. Listening and improving is. So, farewell our little friends. We hope the lessons you’ve learned here in the reality based world will serve you well in the land of the Queen.

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